Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"The Race" --And the Race Goes On

Tuesday December 5
Well we ran our race.  We actually did pretty well considering.  I came in a little over a minute behind Bob and we both recovered quickly but getting in the car immediately was not good for my knees!  They are still a little stiff and sore.  But we did it and the trip with the Larsens was fun.  It took about 4 hours to drive to Savanna La Mar where we stayed because we could not get closer.  Negril is about half an hour farther up the road.  The absolute worst thing about the trip was the condition of the roads.  Riding in that back seat of the truck nearly rattled all my bones—no wonder my back aches—it is not just the run.  The roads around her are incredible!

Isn't it pretty the way the trees grow over the roadway.
The Savana La Mar Chapel--really pretty.

We ate in Negril at a beautiful place called Rick’s—right out on the water.  It was beautiful.  There is a nice little nearby cliff where divers will dive off for a price.  Bob paid but it must not have been enough because the diver only went half way up the cliff not to the top!  After lunch we drove to Negril and registered and picked up our tee shirts and neat carry bags.  I was ready to just go home after I got the shirt and bag but Bob said we had to run.

I of course love the light house.

 I missed The Dive

We could not have done it without the Larsens!  They waited in the hot car while we registered and picked up our things and then they got up at 2:00 in the morning to get us back to Negril by 3:00 because we were not sure what the traffic would be like at the drop off.  We were early!  We took off at 5:15 and passed the Larsens (our faithful cheering crowd) at the turn around at the half way post.  I pretty much kept up with Bob up until this point but then he got his second wind and took off so I had to actually jog more than I really wanted to in order to keep him in sight.  But as I said we survived and are now glad to have not only the tee shirt but a participant’s metal.  (For the record I came in 8th out of 20 in my division.)  We caught the shuttle back to the center of town to meet Larsens.  Anyway, as I also said the Larsens were wonderful to make such sacrifices for such a couple of Crazies.  (I forgot to mention we were not the only Crazies out--on our way from Savlamar to Negril at 3:00 in the morning we had to almost stop in two places for dozens of people wandering around on the road around what must have been taverns or bars.  There were lots of cars and lots of young men especially.  We were not sure they were aware of us as we passed. Fortunately we heard the music before we saw the people to warn us to slow down.--everyone in Jamaica loves very loud music.)

Signing up the day before the race.

Elder Larsen got us on the turn at the half way point.  It is dark because at this point it is about 6:00 in the morning!  Thank heaven or the heat would have been too much.

 And at the end we are still standing!--and smiling!  Notice the medals around our necks.

This is where we stayed in Savana La Mar,  The Comingle Hotel.  It is a nice hotel with a nice wedding chapel type thing and a nice patio dining room and beautiful pool--we did not take our suits however.

Sunday Larsens came to dinner and we went through our Jobs presentation for them to critique for us.  It was good practice and as always they were good sports.  Then we went to the First Presidency’s Devotional at the Branch Building.  It was fun to be there with the Senior missionaries and several elders and a few Branch members.  Transportation is very difficult for people here—they have to take the bus or taxi as most do not have cars and live a long way from the building.  Sometimes they pile a bunch of people in one taxi to save money. 
Another interesting thing happened on Sunday after Relief Society one of my favorite young women—the counselor in the RS, a single woman, a teacher—pulled me aside and asked me about marrying late in life.  There are so many good women here who are not married who really have not many good prospects of marrying.  I really feel I have something to share—I hope I get a chance to share my story and testimony with these women.

This is Arian Segre, the young woman referred to above.  I have shown her hair in another post.  She has extensioin and usually wears it down or pulled back but this day she had it all twisted and braided up and it was so pretty I had to take pictures of it.

Monday we downloaded our lists and started our calls for this month.  We continued on Tuesday until the Wrights came and helped us with come computer and projector problems.  They then watched a few minutes of our presentation and gave us some really valuable pointers.  Then we went to an early dinner at a great little taco place.  We really like the Wrights.  They are S & I missionaries and also help us with PEF. 
We got an email from our Area Director in DR asking us if we Skype and could we have a Skype conference in the morning with the Director of Employment for the Area—he lives in Puerto Rico.  Anyway, we knew we were in trouble because he really wants us to be employment missionaries and do what he wants and we want to be PEF missionaries helping our PEF participants with employment.  Anyway, I had to figure out how to download and sign up for Skype—which I did.  And we had our conference.  We were right—we were in trouble.  We really could not come to agreements so Pres Diaz our PEF Director from DR, suggested the two of them should come to Jamaica where we can meet face to face.  We are not sure we want to do that.  It is interesting what different impressions people have of Jamaica.  Some have high expectations and others have rather low expectations.   We think we know what is needed here but he thinks he knows because he has been working with the country for 20 years—why is it still behind?  The bottom line is that he wants an employment center and we want to take employment training to the people around the island.  They really do not have the capability of traveling even the length of this small island.  Most members do not have cars.  How can they go to an employment center? 
I do not want to be uncooperative but we really are feeling pulled in two different directions with PEF and Employment.  And I feel our first responsibility is to PEF—which thankfully is what our mission President feels.
Elder Evans is having trouble with his back and thinks it is because of the seat of his car. (I suspect it is because of the roads myself!)   So he asked if we could trade vehicles.  So we are now driving a small SUV instead of our big secure truck!  It may or may not be a permanent trade.—interesting to just trade cars with someone…

 Our Truck.  They finally gave us a parking space I could get into and then we lost our truck--maybe for ever.

Here are a couple pictures I thought might be interesting.

A very common sight along the rural roads and in the smaller towns.  Goats everywhere!  The babies are so cute.

Another  common sight even in Kingston.  These little shops will be almost right beside a store of some kind.

This I have seen but not been able to photograph before.  Bob could not get the camera to work for him so I had to do it while I was driving.

On the way to church.  I'm glad there is a helmet law here.  Notice the rear view mirror.  I think I have mentioned how the motorcycles zip in and out of traffic and down between the lanes and even into oncoming lanes to get through traffic.

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